originally Samnite (Liv. 9.3
; Appian, Samnit.
4.3), and by the Samnite invasion established in Campania (Liv. iv, 37, 7.38, 39.13), became at a later period a plebeian house at Rome. (Cic. Brut. 45
, ad Att.
1.18, 19; Sall. Hist.
ii. ap. Gell.
10.20; Liv. 23.43
.) The Herennii were a family of rank in Italy. They were the hereditary patrons of the Marii. (Plut. Mar. 5
.) Herennius was a leading senator of Nola in Campania (Liv. 23.43
); and M. Herennius was decurio of Pompeii about B. C. 63. (Plin. Nat. 2.51
.) From a coin (see below), from the cognomen Siculus (V. Max. 9.12.6
), and the settlement of an Herennius at Leptis as a merchant (Cic. in Verr.
1.5, 5.59)), one branch at least of the family seems to have been engaged in commerce (Macr. 3.6
; Serv. ad Aen. 8.363
), especially in the Sicilian and African trade, and in the purchase and exportation of the silphium--ferula Tingitana
-- (Sprengel, Rei Herbar.
p. 84), from Cyrene. (Plin. Nat. 19.3
.) The Herennii appear for the first time in the Fasti, B. C. 93. Under the empire they held various provincial and military offices (J. AJ 18.16
; Tac. Hist. 4.19
; D. C. 67.13
; Plin. Ep. 7.33
); and the wife of the Emperor Decius (A. D. 249) was Herennia Etruscilla. [ETRUSCILLA; ETRUSCUS.] The cognomens which occur under the republic are BALBUS, BASSUS, CERPINIUS, PONTIUS, and SICULUS. As the surnames of Balbus, Bassus, and Cerrinius, have been omitted under these names, they are placed under the gentile name.
For the cognomens under the empire, see the alphabetical list on p. 408.
In the Herennian, as in other families of Sabellian origin, a peculiarity in the system of names is to be noted. To the family or paternal name was added that of the mother or wife. Thus the son of Cerrinius and Minia Paculla (Liv. 39.13
) is Minius Cerrinius, who, by marriage with an Herennia, becomes Herennius Cerrinius.
The son of the emperor Decius and IIerennia Etruscilla was styled Herennisus Etruscus Messius Decius.
There was both assumption and deposition of names in this system. Thus Minius Cerrinius dropped the former of his appellations when he took that of Herennius. (Comp. Göttling, Staatsverfassung der Röm.
p. 5, &c.) [W.B.D
The preceding coin, which represents on the obverse a female head, with the legend PIETAS, and on the reverse a son carrying his father in his arms, has reference to the celebrated act of filial affection of two brothers of Catana, who carried off their aged parents in the midst of an eruption of Mount Aetna. (Comp. Claudian, Idyll.
7; Eckhel, vol. i. p. 203, vol. v. p. 224.)